Skip to main content
5:00 pm
educate people about the difference. we do have a group of people that are in detentions that are called criminal aliens who are here illegally and committed crime. there is no disagreement that of course, there needs to be dengs where appropriate and where there are criminal penalties in place and of course there should be expulsions from the country in that regard. by sweeping up many of the people whose only violation is a civil violation and otherwise have been following our laws, we are limiting our enforcement ability to go after real criminals who are causing harm in our community. that happens in two ways, one through the limited law enforcement resources and where we divert those resources to taking mothers away from daughters and fathers away from sons who are productive members of society, when we divert the
5:01 pm
resources of that, it means they are going off of some other beat and keeping our streets safe, going away from looking at white collar crime, others that need to be looked at. . . in many cases the victims of those crimes, could be spouses that are abused, it could be people who are robbed or ripped off by inscrupulous scam artists are frequently afraid to report that crime because they are afraid that the very same agency that they're supposed to trust to report that crime could in fact be in league with another government agency that wants to deport them and that's the problems with 287-g and some of the other information-sharing protocalls. for community policing to work
5:02 pm
it's hard to have the trust and support of the community. and by the way, if these criminals go unprosecuted in our community and unpenalized for taking advantage of somebody and that not being reported, their next victim could very well be an american. their next victim could be your family. could be my family. and that's why we all have an interest in community policing of law enforcement as well as public health to make sure that people are inoculated and treated early for disease regardless of their status. now, look, the status is not to have this population here illegally. whenever we're talking about this enforcement, yeah, it's tough. there is no right answer. the right answer is comprehensive immigration reform. let's find a way where the people that we need here that have critical jobs in our economy, that have families that are in our community, that have kids that are american and going to school and doing well every day, have a way and a
5:03 pm
paperwork to show that they can be here. now, that doesn't mean in comprehensive immigration reform that anybody gets citizenship. i want to be clear about this, because frequently this false spectrum of somehow granting citizenship to 11 million people -- comprehensive immigration reform in any version doesn't give citizenship to anybody, not one person. not 1,000 people, not a million people. zero people are -- in fact, under all the versions are being talked about of comprehensive immigration reform, anybody who is here illegally would have to get right with the law and we go to the back -- would go to the back of line of applying for citizenship someday if they're eligible. they have to follow the laws of our country for many years. they'll have to learn english. they have to take a test. yes, someday it's possible that some immigrants will become citizens. you know what, it's also possible that many choose
5:04 pm
unlikely to. they may return to another country and that's fine. but it's critical that there is at least the ability to get right with the law. it's very frustrating when people say, why don't they get in line today? because it's nonexistent line. comprehensive immigration reform will create the line that people will then get into and create an immigration system that is in touch with reality in this country, in touch with a pro-growth agenda, in touch with an agenda that will make our country prosperous, that will conform our treatment of our neighbors to our values as americans. the same values that extended a welcome to my ancestors and yours when they came to these shores and helped their -- in my case, grandchildren, great grandchildren serve in this body. so, too, we need to ensure that our values are fully represented in our immigration system. whether one is on the left or right, it is clear that today's
5:05 pm
disaster of an immigration system is not reflective of our value as americans. our values of americans is not to tear families apart. it is to ensure if you work hard and you play by the rules, you can get ahead in this country, you can succeed in this country. the value of encouraging civic participation is absolutely critical. so this is a unique opportunity, a unique moment. it's a bipartisan approach as it has to be. this is not a democratic issue or a republican issue. immigration reform is an american issue as it always has been a nation of immigrants, a nation of laws. and we can conform those two together so that we can fulfill our destiny in a way that honors the rule of law and honors the role of immigrants in creating our great country. i yield back to the gentleman from minnesota. mr. ellison: i do appreciate
5:06 pm
the gentleman from colorado. congressman polis, you've been on the mark of this thing ever since you stepped into this body. there are literally i think millions of people who appreciate your advocacy. i just want to mention a few points and then of course invite you to dive back in. the president does have a proposal on immigration reform. it's reasonable. it's common sense. a starting point. democrats and republicans need to find a way, as congressman polis just said. but it is a clear path toward legal status. for those who are already in the u.s. working and paying taxes. it's a process for family reunification. it's a workable employment verification system with penalties for employers who knowingly hire people who are not in status. it is a reasonable enforcement, but i just want to say this and i want to invite congressman polis to react. we put about $18 billion into
5:07 pm
border stuff so far. i mean, one of the real things about comprehensive immigration reform is we hear people talk about the border, the border, the border. president obama has done tons on the border. for some of us too much. but the border issue is not the problem. the real problem is the other part. i yield to the gentleman from colorado to see if you have any thoughts about this matter. mr. polis: you know, another thing that's important for americans to understand about how 11 million people got here without paperwork and how this continues to occur is that more than half, more than half of the population that lives and works here illegally didn't sneak across a border. they came here legally. they came here as a tourist. they came here with a visa. they stayed illegally and worked illegally. again, even if you had 100% security at the border -- and by the way, that's certainly a valid goal, but it's not -- you're never going to have 100%.
5:08 pm
but even if you had 100%, you would still have a large flow of people to this country illegally because it's not that hard to get a tourism visa, to get a student visa, to get some other kind of documentation for travel that allows us to be here for a month or three months and then to outstay that and work here illegally. so no matter what you do on the border -- and by the way, i think absolutely as part of comprehensive immigration reform there will be more border security. no matter what you do on the border, you don't aaddress the issue of comprehensive immigration support. we need to make sure our immigration laws reflect the real needs of our country, the needs of the private sector, the needs of the work force to make sure that people in the service industry, whether it's to pick crops in the field or
5:09 pm
staff our high-tech companies with programmers, we need to have an america centric approach to immigration. and while border enforcement can certainly be a part of that, no matter how much you have, it doesn't even come close to addressing the issue of immigration in this country. and that's why, as the president indicated in his speech, others from both sides of the aisle have indicated, it's critical for america to take on the issue of immigration reform and pass a comprehensive solution. i yield back to the gentleman from minnesota. mr. ellison: thank you, congressman. i am going to wrap up in about five minutes or so, but i just want to hit a few things that need to be touched on. one is that the progressive caucus is very concerned about this looming sequestration. now, folks out there listen to the show, mr. speaker, might think sequestration. what is that? is that when you go on jury duty or something? no. sequestration is what we're
5:10 pm
calling some really dramatic cuts to federal spending that are coming up in about two weeks. you're thinking, how did we end up here? here's what happened. so in august of 2011, the republicans had taken the majority in that session, the 2012 session, started in january and they started out with a -- an agenda to dramatically reduce the size of government. and they started out with something called cut, cap and balance they and wanted to cut all kinds of programs. they never wanted to touch defense, but they wanted to cut the federal government. i'm talking about head start, women, infants and children nutrition, programs that help support state and local governments for police, fire, all kinds of stuff like that. they wanted to cut and they wanted to cut big time. they wanted to cut social security, medicare and medicaid, and so they came forward with this proposal. now they knew they couldn't get
5:11 pm
it past the senate, but they said, oh, the debt ceiling. the debt ceiling, we can use that as a lever to make the democrats give us significant cuts to the federal budget. so what they did in august of 2011 they said that we're going to allow -- we're not going to raise the debt ceiling. we're going to allow the federal government to default on previously acquired obligations of the united states so not pay our bills that we already acquired and risk our a.a.a. debt -- a.a.a. credit rating if you do not impose dramatic cuts. what the president said, ok, we'll give you some cuts upfront and we'll set up something called the supercommittee, three democrats from the house, three republicans from the house, three republicans from the senate, three democrats from
5:12 pm
the senate, we call that the supercommittee and they are going to give us an up or down vote on some other cuts. but if they don't then we are going to have this thing called the sequester and it will be across-the-board cuts in a dramatic and really imposing way. the sequester is what we're facing now because the supercommittee failed. now, the supercommittee didn't just fail. what we didn't know is that when the republicans, both house and senate, appointed their members of the supercommittee, all of them signed a promise to a man named grover norquist never to raise any taxes. and so what happened is that they got on the supercommittee and refused to negotiate. democrats said we'll do some cuts, but we need some revenue. we need to raise some taxes, close some loopholes. republicans said no way.
5:13 pm
democrats said, wait a minute. you want all cuts and no raising taxes? they said, that's right. we are not going to negotiate with you on this. so the supercommittee failed in its work. when it failed in its work, that meant that we were going to deal with sequester and that's where we are now. sequester is going to impose automatic arbitrary cuts that could lay off, according to the congressional budget office, up to about 750,000 people. there will be cuts in domestic spending and cuts to the military spending. some of us think that military cuts are warranted. others of us are absolutely concerned about the people who are going to be affected by these domestic cuts. so let me wrap up. i know i got to hurry up, but i just want to say that i am concerned that several republicans seem real cavalier
5:14 pm
about sequester, and you should look at the list. the progressive caucus' solution is to repeal sequester and what we would propose to do with our legislation is say 50% cuts, 50% revenue. we already cut $1.7 trillion in revenue. and then last new year's eve we got some money in the door through raising taxes and now we need to balance to 50/50. that's what we're called the balancing act. our bill would bring it to balance by raising money through closing loopholes, carried interest, jets and yachts, stuff like that. oh, yeah, you didn't know they could write off their jets and their yachts? oh, yeah they can. then put about $300 billion into jobs. let me wrap up by saying the balancing act, you can go online and look it up. it's a great program. we urge you to support it. last one second, if i may.
5:15 pm
my friend's promise of 20 minutes, i may mess it up right now. but i say on february 27 the supreme court will hear oral arguments in the shelby county, alabama vs. holder case. this threatens to take away serious voting rights. i'm going to be talking about this because democracy must prevail. we have not reached a point where everybody has a fair vote in this country. and i don't have the time to elaborate on it now, but please be aware that the shelby county vs. holder is a critical issue. supreme court's going to take it up on the 27th of february, and we need to be aware of that if we want to believe that you ought to be able to cast a fair vote in america. so with that i'm going to yield to the gentleman from colorado. thank you very much, congressman. mr. polis: mr. speaker, i rise
5:16 pm
today in support of comprehensive -- the gentleman from minnesota yielded to me. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman yield back? mr. polis: the gentleman yielded to me. i'd like to ask the speaker how much time remains. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota has 25 minutes remaining. mr. ellison: understanding that the gentleman will get the balancing of the time remaining of my hour, i yield the floor back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. mr. ellison: does the gentleman from colorado get all the time? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will state his inquiry.
5:17 pm
mr. ellison my inquiry is, if i yield back does mr. polis get the balance of me time i have remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado may serve as the designee of the minority leader for the remainder thoif time. mr. ellison: and further inquiry, is there 25 minutes left? the speaker pro tempore: the minority hour has 24 minutes remaining. mr. ellison: in that case, i yield back to the speaker. mr. polis: i rise to claim the time for the minority leader. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend.
5:18 pm
the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced spoil of january 3, 2013, the gentleman from colorado, mr. polis, is recognized for 24 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. polis: i rise today to support passing comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible. i have a story to share from a resident of my district, cindy slauson from fort collins, colorado. cindy wrote me that her daughter fell in love with a young man from mexico when they were in high school. they had a dream about their future lives together and part of that was helping him become an american citizen so he could go to college, find a job and support the family they hoped to build together. they persisted tirelessly for 10 years through everything that the american bureaucracy and immigration services threw
5:19 pm
at them and today, timely, he's a citizen of the united states. he's pursuing his degree in aviation mechanics and wants to continue to go to school for an engineering greg. part of their dream is now a reality. they keep on building upon this dream to be contributing community members and leaders among their friends and family. now, cindy writes that unfortunately some young people don't have the kind of support and focus and frankly, patience, that her children had and cindy writes, let's make their path a bit more attainable. i believe most everyone truly wants to do their best so let's give them a chance to be their best in this country. as cindy writes, there are so many people that are caught up in indefinite waiting periods just to be reunited with their own families. people who give up hope and move from their family and friends and everybody they know simply because they can't get
5:20 pm
through. the unrealistic length of time it takes to navigate our legal system. as part of comprehensive immigration reform, we need a system that reflect ours values as americans and one that's realistic for families to go through. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from a constituent in my district, monica olquin from boulder, colorado. her story is an interesting one. because the u.s. came to her, instead of her moving to the united states. she, her family hails from the southwestern united states, even before it was part of mexico, her family descended from spanish colonial settlers in 1598 near santa fe, new mexico, over the following 300 years they traveled north to colorado, conejos, -- conejos
5:21 pm
county where they've been for 300 years. she writes that many of our best students today have been immigrant children she taught in our public schools for over 30 years. monica write they entered our school system with great hopes and dreams and do not take education for granted. it isn't long before they're able to express their fear of losing their place in this country. their fear of not belonging in their country of origin. or their knowledge that there's no hope for success or dreams for their future in either their country of or-in or in this country. monica shares the concerns of so many of us whose lives have touched those who live in this country every day in fear, in fear of the very government that should be there to protect them, in fear that it will detain them. indefinitely. in fear that it will send them out of this country, back to a
5:22 pm
country that they know no one in, that they might not have been in since they were 3 years old, 8 years old, perhaps even a country where the language that's spoken is not a language they're fluent. in that's the reality of our immigration system every day. as monica writes, it's critical that we replace our broken immigration system with one that works now. you're only a child once. we need to make sure that our next generation of leaders has every opportunity to make our country greater. mr. speaker, i rise today share a story from a constituent of mine in lafayette, colorado, paul edward con din. -- condon. loik like so many coloradans he feels we need to replace our broken imfration system with one that works for our country and make sure we have a way that pe the people who are here can get right with the law he writes on his father's side he's descended from people who
5:23 pm
his daughter katherine likes her to -- likes to say qualify her to be a member of the daughters of the american revolution. on his mother's side he's descended from immigrants from bohemia in the 1890's who home seded -- homesteaded in oregon. he's a child of both one side of the family with long roots in the country, before it was a country, and on the other side of the family from immigrants. as paul writes, perhaps with the full sense of understanding that comes from his personal story, he write, we are all sons and daughters of immigrants, including those desfrend people who were already here when my earlier ancestors arrived and descended from people who arrived unwillingly in this country. he writes all immigrants, all mingled together and even congresspersons are desened from immigrants. paul further writes, congresspersons who wish to
5:24 pm
reject immigrants are rejecting their own heritage and they should be ashamed. i agree with paul. we are all in this country descended from immigrants. whether those immigrants arrived thousands of years ago, hundreds of years ago, decades ago, or last week, our future is intertwined with the very definition of america as an immigrant nation. a nation of laws a nation of immigrants. those two need to be reconciled. we need laws that reflect our values as americans, our values as a nation of immigrants, laws that are enforceable and in touch with reality, rather than laws that tear families apart every day in this country and deny, deny people who have worked hard here and contributed to society the opportunity fully partake in our great country and to someday become americans
5:25 pm
themselves. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from a constituent in colorado from the second congressional district, sumay nelson from boulder, colorado, who shared a story with me about immigration that speaks to the need to reform our immigration system today to ensure that everybody has a chance to succeed in this country. sumay writes as a first generation immigration -- immigrant american, having receive aid sigh lum under trying condition, i feel the pain of undocumented immigrants and their fear of being deported. sumay writes, i'm honored to have received your message and i'd like to speak on this important topic. millions live in fear of deportation, i hope our government bring this is agonizing issue to a positive
5:26 pm
solution. the time is over in which we can afford to ignore an issue that has led to humanitarian catastrophe. i agree with sumay. i think that the story, the firsthand story of many legal immigrants like sumay who have firsthand knowledge of the process of leaving everything they know and coming to a new country without friends, without family, how difficult is that? and yet today, our government is tearing families apart. at taxpayer expense, taking mothers from daughters and placing them in detention, at the cost to taxpayers of tens of thousands of dollars. we need to replace our broken immigration system with one that works for our country and reflect ours values as americans, as even our newest americans like sumay agree with.
5:27 pm
mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from john hoffman in boulder, colorado. like so many coloradans and like so many americans, john feels we need to replace our broken immigration system with one that works and allows a way for the 11 million people who are here without status to get right with the law and fulfill their destiny. john writes, my great, great german grandparents settled in germantown in lewisville -- in louisville, kentucky, they were hardworking and indust res you and got into the middle class. john writesering let the latinos do the same. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from isabela pascek of colorado, she wrote me to share her immigration story and her passion for making sure that we replace our broken immigration system with
5:28 pm
one that works and reflect ours values as americans. she and her husband were recruited to join a graduate program in math at the university of maryland in 1989. when they decided to go for it they thought they'd return to their home country, poland. that was their plan when they got their degrees but fate decided otherwise. when they graduated, robert in two years, isabel in two and a half, the country they knew in their childhood was gone and they were being offered some very tempting positions in the united states. robert went to c.m.u. for post-doc and isabella joined the farm industry, eventual lay they got green cards and became citizens of the united states and our great state of colorado which is now their home, where both are respected in their fields and are happy doing what they do best. now they can't imagine living anywhere else and they work hard to make their new homeland, the united states, even better, just as so many other immigrant families
5:29 pm
contribute to this country. are an asset to this country. are an asset to america. our part -- are part of america are as american as anybody else. which is why we need an immigration system that reflects our values and our priorities as americans and ensures that others have the ability to give back to this great country just as isabella and robert have and continue to do every day. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from janis green from westminster, colorado, about why we need to fix our broken immigration system to help reunite families. janis writes, my family has been in the united states for many generations but my daughter-in-law is prevented from joining my daughter here because of the defense of marriage act. they were legally married in porch gal and my daughter may have to leave the united states -- in portugal and my daughter may have to leave the united states to be with her spouse.
5:30 pm
under current immigration law today, same sex couples are not accepted under immigration law, even though there's a number of states where same intelligence couples have the same marriage rights as opposite sex couples, because of the defense of marriage act federally, that marriage is not counted for purposes of immigration. janis' daughter might be driven from the country she loves and can contribute so much to because there is no viable path for her family to stay together. that's why i support jerry snadler's united american families act and we need to work hard to make sure as we replace our broken immigration system with one that works it's fair to all americans and treats all americans fairly and reflect ours value as americans of keeping families like janis' daughter and daughter-in-law together. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from gene hodges
5:31 pm
of boulder, colorado, about why we need to improve our immigration system. gene writes that both sides of her family emigrated in the 1800's from ireland, scotland and weals. moved to ho -- and wales. moved to ohio. jean does write that she understands the privilege of being a u.s. citizen and all it provides, for all of us to find a path to equality and whatever our pursuit of happiness may be. jean, like so many coloradans, like so many americans, says i wish that for all immigrants. jean understands the reasons that her forbearers might have left everyone and everything they knew to come to this colorado. i know jean and the way she's given back to our community as a school teacher, as a leader for equality, her work to support parents of lgbt kids
5:32 pm
has been of tremendous value to our country and value that they provide through their public service, through their efforts as teachers, as firefighters, as policemen, as lawyers, as doctors and successful business people will lead tower country to a more plus plus and bright future. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from dan of boulder, colorado, about why we need to fix our broken immigration system and replace it with one that reflects our values as americans. now, dan is a fourth generation coloradan. in fact, on his father's side, he has ties all the way back to the mayflower. on his mother's side, her family came from italy, german and scotland, like many americans of mixed blood. he remembers memorizing when he was in fifth grade his ancestry.
5:33 pm
he would list it off, english, irish, italian and scottish. but recently he fell in love with a canadian. it was love at first sight and they got married in new york. the plan was that dan and his spouse were going to spend their lives together. but you know what, right now they don't know where because dan's spouse is another man. unlike if dan's spouse was a woman, dan doesn't have the same kind of right to allow his husband, michael, to be a legal resident of our country. dan writes that he's forced to have to choose between the country he loves, the country his ancestors worked hard to get to and being united with his own family and his husband. dan calls upon us in congress, and i pass this challenge to our colleagues, to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that treats families fairly, that treats families equally, that ensures
5:34 pm
that families are united. that's why i'm a proud sponsors of jerry nadler's united family act, and i call upon this body to include respect of marriage as a principle of comprehensive immigration reform. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story of sally miller from brumfield, colorado, and her strong support for fixing our broken immigration system. sally is a social worker and her story's about several pieces of her own personal experience working with people in the denver metro area. sally's worked with immigrants who come to our country 20 years ago. they raised our families, they hope for a better life, their kids are u.s. citizens, have succeeded in school and are giving back. but sally writes that the parents of one of her families are constantly in fear that their family may be caught on
5:35 pm
the way to or from his cleaning job and sent back to a country that he left, torn apart from his family at taxpayer expense. one of their three children graduated from high school just this past june and is working and taking college classes. the other kids are 16 and 14. now, sally writes that her friend and his wife hope to stay in the denver area until their kids graduate from high school. they live in constant fear that our government sees their parents and sends them back to another country. sally writes, the parents are good, decent people, loving parents. have always felt their sacrifices for their children's sake have been worth the price. there are so many families that risk being torn apart because our immigration system is completely out of touch with our values as americans. rather than reuniting families that tears families apart,
5:36 pm
rather than encouraging people to follow the law that rewards inscrupulous business people who hire people under the table and encourages the violation of the law and identity theft. we need to replace our immigration system with one that works for our country, allow people who've been here and are hard working and contribute to our country and get right with the law and, yes, someday enjoy the same benefits of citizenship that sally herself enjoys. i call upon my colleagues to pass comprehensive immigration reform now. mr. speaker, i rise today to share the story of ann from loveland, colorado, who wrote to me with regard to her support for comprehensive immigration reform and her own family story. ann writes that her relatives first came from canada, france and england. the french in the 1700's, the english a little later. ann's great great grandmother
5:37 pm
-- both sides of her family were farmers in quebec before wandering. she writes, where they legal? who knows. ann further writes that the french had large families and soon outgrew their farms. they moved on from new hampshire. her mother moved from new hampshire to maine in 1942 after the death of her father and she worked for maine blue cross for 30 years. ann moved to california after high school and saw an opportunity to attend college, married, had children, joined the league of women voters and finally graduated in 1980 and promptly won election to the vermont house. ann was the first in her family to attend college, vote, own a house and hold public office. there are so many today that would be -- that would be the first to go to college, that would be the first to vote, that would be the first to own a house, that would be the first to hold public office and would be the first to be
5:38 pm
captains of industry, that would be the first to have advanced degrees. if only we could find a way where they have the ability to get right with the law and get paperwork that allows them to pursue the great opportunities that this country offers. as ann says, were they legal? who knows. were they legal? who cares? when my family came here in 1906 they got off the boat and registered. there was no quota or process or thing they had to deal with on the legal front. they just showed up here. and you know what, they were welcomed. you know what, their grandson on one side, great grandson on the other was a congressperson. just as ann, as they wandered down from canada to new hampshire, ann has given so much to her country. just as so many of today's immigrants will if we only give them today's opportunity. mr. speaker, i rise today to
5:39 pm
share the story of darrell shoot from littleton, colorado. darrell writes with regard to the critical need to replace our broken immigration system with one that works. darrell's grandfather, joseph, emigrated from sicily to the united states to join his grandmother who was already living in buffalo, new york, in the mid 19 teens. the italians were the unwanted immigrants of that day. he returned to canada, walked across the border and rejoined his mother after they were deported from new york. he was caught and given the choice to fight for the allies in europe to get his citizenship. he accepted that and darrell's grandfather, joseph, went to war for the american dream. unfortunately he received injuries during that war that affected him the rest of his life. but even so he was hard working and worked hard from the back of a horse-drawn cart to
5:40 pm
support his family for many years. even to this day, immigrants give so much of themselves through their hard work, their blood, sweat and tears that all of us as americans prosper from and benefit from. we need to find a way, just as joseph's grandfather did, that people can get right with the law. what is being discussed and what needs to be discussed is not an amnesty any more if you get a speeding ticket and you enter a plea bargain it's an amnesty. it's essentially a plea bargain. we need to figure out a way that, yes, you violated the law. let's figure out how you get right with the law. register, pay a fine, get your working permit. it's not realistic to try to in any way, shape or form round up large numbers of people who are giving so much to our country every day and in many cases have marn children. that's why we need -- american children. that's why we need to pass immigration reform and replace
5:41 pm
our broken immigration system with one that reflects our values as americans. mr. speaker, i rise today to share a story from martha denny in fort collins, colorado. with her own personal story and story of her own family's immigration and why we need to replace our broken imfwration system with one that works and pass comprehensive immigration reform now. martha's grandmother's family were from france but they were swiss mennonites. they were driven from switzerland from members of the mennonite faith. they followed the teachings that defy the teachings of the catholic church and were discriminated against. many swiss farmers became valued and trusted workers in the states in france where they went to escape persecution. when they were able to emigrate to the u.s. in the late 1800's they came to weland, iowa, which was a small mennonite community.
5:42 pm
martha's work for more than 30 years in the area of international exchange at a large american university, colorado state university in fort collins, colorado. she worked with student visas. she has observations about the process that she's tried to share over the years with representatives of our united states government but she believes that up until now they weren't in position to hear them because they weren't focusing on immigration reform. well, i call upon this body to focus on immigration reform. to heed the stories of those like martha, of many others who interact every day, whether it's as an employer or educator or social worker, with those who are here in this country and working hard to make our country greater but lack the paperwork that verifies their own existence, that lack the paperwork that allow them to exist under the rule of law in this country. we need to replace our broken immigration system with one that reflects our american values, one that allows people
5:43 pm
to step out of the darkness and into the light, to get right with the law, to get right with the law. to be able to fully pursue their destiny as future americans. we are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit from the tremendous opportunities that immigrants give to this country every day. i hope that now is the time that representatives of our united states government in this house of representatives will be in a position to hear, will be in a position to make comprehensive immigration reform to make our country safer, to make our country more prosperous. mr. speaker, i rise today to share the story from steven holly in colorado. steven expressed his passion to replace our broken immigration system with one that reflects
5:44 pm
our american values. steven one side of his family came from ireland in the late 19th century. they had it rough. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. polis: i call upon my colleagues to support comprehensive immigration reform and pass it now to replace our broken immigration system with one that works for our country and our values and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman recognizes the gentleman from colorado far motion. mr. polis: i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the house stands adjourned until 9:00 a.m.
5:45 pm
tomorrow. >> we will show you nancy pelosi's briefing after his remarks. >> happy valentine's day. in two weeks, we will have a
5:46 pm
historic ceremony here in united states capital. house and senate leaders will gather. this will be the first statue of an african-american woman to be placed in the capital, that of rosa parks. i cannot think of a more fitting honor for a great american hero who still inspires us all. on tuesday, the president laid out his agenda. it is one that i largely disagree with trade i think it lacked any new ideas prayed to the millions of americans still asking the question, where are the jobs? it was largely more of the same. more tax hikes, more stimulus spending. if he's serious about enacting his agenda, i think it must start with the part of this congress that his party controls, the united states senate. what can he get past in united states senate? -- passed in the
5:47 pm
united states senate? the president once more stimulus spending. the president wants more tax hikes that destroyed jobs. this is not the agenda that many americans are looking for. and, many in the president's own party will not support those ideas. in the house, we will continue to focus on what the american people's top priorities are, creating jobs and cutting spending. for the last two years, the house has done its work. we have passed legislation to tackle the tough challenges that america faces, only to see our senate colleagues do nothing. those days are over. the house will continue to meet our obligations. the senate democrats must begin to do their work.
5:48 pm
that is why we passed the no budget, no pay act, requiring the senate to pass a budget for the first time in four years. that is why we're going to insist that they finally pass a plan to replace the president's sequester. this sequester was the president's idea, and his party needs to follow through on their plans to replace it. with that, i will answer your questions great >> senate democrats -- questions. >> democrats will reveal their plan. would you rather see the sequester kick in than accept a plan that has more tax revenues? >> until they pass a plan, there is no reason for me to comment on what they will do or not do. >> former senator chuck hagel
5:49 pm
was at risk of being filibustered. do you think it is appropriate for your republican colleagues to filibuster his nomination? >> i will remind you that this is the house side of the capital. we are not involved in the senate nominations. you can ask the senate. >> do you have an opinion about this, your republican colleagues leading the charge? >> mr. boehner, legislation expired at the end of the 112th congress. he if the senate does pass a bill, how will the house handle it? >> we passed a bill twice to replace the sequester. our position is clear. i expect the senate to do their
5:50 pm
work. if they're willing to pass a bill, we will find some way to work with them to address this problem. i have made it perfectly clear, the sequester -- i don't like it. no one should like it. but the sequester is there because the president insisted that it be there. where is the president's plan to replace the sequester that he insisted upon? >> the violence against women act, what is your timeline? >> representatives are continuing to work with the committee of jurisdiction, looking at finding ways to deal with this legislation. we are fully committed to doing everything we can to protect women in our society. i expect that the house will act in a timely fashion in some way. no decision has been made about
5:51 pm
whether we take up the senate bill or move our own version of the bill. >there is a partisan talk underway both in the senate and in the house. i have done everything i can to try to encourage those bipartisan conversations. i do not think a decision should be made about who should go first. we are way too down the road. there are a lot of issues that we have to deal with. our border is not secure. the ability of her government to enforce the law has its share of problems as well. there are a number of issues that have to be resolved here.
5:52 pm
let's not get too far down the road. i want my colleagues to continue to work together to see if they can't come to a solution that is except will here in the house. >> you mentioned jobs are it what did you think of the president's proposal to fix it now, put people back to work, repairing the nation's infrastructure? >> i have worked very diligently over the past couple of years to grapple with her infrastructure problems here in america. -- our infrastructure problems here in america. our problems are chiefly those of resources. trying to find a funding source to repair the nation's infrastructure is still a big goal of mine or i. the president talked about infrastructure, but not how to
5:53 pm
pay for it. it is easy to talk about being santa claus, but at some point somebody has got to pay the bill. i have pushed the new chairman of her house transportation and infrastructure committee -- our transportation and infrastructure committee to work on this issue. i am committed to find a funding source so we can begin to repair america's aging infrastructure. >> you do not like the sequester. if it goes into effect at the end of the month, how do you handle what will in effect be treated by many of your republican members as the new baseline? it seems when a sequester goes into effect, it enormously cop locates your ability to agree with democrats over basic spending bills -- obligates your ability to agree with democrats over basic spending bills. will that be the new spending baseline you will operate off of, or will you treat it as temporary?
5:54 pm
>> the sequester will be in effect until dark cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years -- there are cuts and reforms that will put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years. period. >> [inaudible]have you started bipartisan talks on the sequester? >> pure and simple. i told you. >> the president promised he would take executive action on climate change. our house republicans going to block him from doing that if the bill does not get past? >> i do not know what actions
5:55 pm
the president thinks he can take. i do not think he has the ability to impose a national energy tax on americans without the authority of congress .arrie he may attempt to do this. >> what do you think about the plan to include in operations bill? >> there are a lot of options for how we move continuing resolutions. no decisions have been made about how to do that. thank you. >> what did you get mrs. boehner for valentine's day? >> good afternoon. we are on the floor about the
5:56 pm
legislation that affects -- we are running a few minutes late. this week on capitol hill we had the tail of two priorities. democrats want solutions, republicans want sequesters. democrats stand with the president's call for a balanced approach to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, and responsibly reduce the deficit. the publicans prefer delay and across the board cuts that are harmful. the education of our children, security of our country. on monday, i sent a letter to speaker boehner. the question i asked was, how can we leave for recess when we are so close to the sequester and we are so close to what could be a shutdown of government if we do not act?
5:57 pm
everyone is working. democrats are working. the senate is working on their proposal. i'm here with my colleague, congressman chris van hollen. he will present our proposal that meets the standard of balanced and fairness, efforts the sequester to the end of the calendar year. it is consistent with what the senate democrats are unveiling today and has responsible spending cuts, revenues, and job growth as well. we do not think there is any time to waste. every minute counts. it is hard to understand how to split to the american people that tomorrow we will be leaving for more than a week -- explain to the american people that tomorrow we will be leaving for more than a week when a deadline is looming. sequester should be out of the question. i am pleased to yield with the
5:58 pm
greatest respect and admiration for his work [inaudible]chris van hollen. >> the first number is 750,000. that is a number of jobs that the independent, nonpartisan congressional budget office says will be lost between march 1 and the end of this calendar year if we allow the reckless, across the board sequester to take place. 750,000 american jobs lost. it will reduce our economic output for this year by a full third. it equates to a racing the number of jobs gained between october of last year through january of this year. wiping out five months of job growth. the second number hope you'll
5:59 pm
will keep in mind is a four. four is a number of times the house democrats have put forward a plan in this congress to prevent those across-the-board cuts from taking place with the 750,000 dotjobs lost. we offered at last year. we have now offered twice in his 113th congress. most recently going to the rules committee last night, asking this congress to have an up or down go on our plan, which would achieve the same amount of deficit reduction without any of that job loss. we spread that deficit reduction over a. of time, and we do it -- period of time, and we do it in a balanced way through a combination of cuts and revenue. cuts from illuminating some of the excessive subsidies to agribusiness, the direct payments, and revenues from illuminating taxpayer giveaways
6:00 pm
to the big oil companies and applying the buffet rule, which says that for people who make more than $2 million a year, they should pay at least a 30% effective tax rate so they cannot take advantage of all the special interest preferences and loopholes in the tax code. if you do that, you get the benefit of the deficit reduction, the same amount without any of that job loss. bill right now to continue that is why the leader and i are introducing that in the bill right now to continue. we think having a vote in the house, it would pass. we think our republican colleagues are afraid of bringing it up for a vote, because it presents the priorities that are before it.
6:01 pm
do you want to lose 750,000 jobs, or do you want to ask the big oil companies to get rid of their taxpayer subsidies? that is the choice before us. we have tried four times, and we are going to introduce a bill on behalf of the democratic caucus today in the house to keep fighting, and we should stay here, as the leader said, to get that done, rather than going away while that clock ticks down to march 1, which is the countdown to 750,000 jobs lost. our bill is entitled to a stop the sequester job loss now, and we hope we can get this bill taken up. >> thank you, mr. ranking member and mr. chairman. any questions? >> >> given what you think of the popularity, but do you consider a discharged position
6:02 pm
on this, and if you guys cannot get the sequester undone, would you favor a targeted waiver in sandy aid? >> we want to introduce this bill and hope it could be brought up, a discharge position -- petition is an option that we have. it takes a little more time than getting them, asking them to let us -- we could have brought this bill today on the floor. we will have a vote on it on the previous question, a procedural vote, not the vote on the bill, and most likely we will not win that procedural vote. the fact is we want to avoid this a question -- avoid the sequester. people say how about if we car about biomedical research, defense -- let's be mindful of the consequences of what is happening and do the right thing
6:03 pm
and not have a sequester. it is mindless. many other questions? >> republicans are talking about the plants they are making it the sequester does go into effect. [indiscernible] do you think members should take a pay cut if you have to make up the cuts? >> as you know, that is why i do not like across-the-board cuts, because there are many other examples where across the board cuts may not make the best sense. why should people who work on a capitol hill say that price and be treated as members of congress are? it is a hard question to ask me because most of my colleagues, breadwinners in their families,
6:04 pm
and a pay cut to meet is not need that much to me. i think you should respect the work we do. it is necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded, but across-the- board cuts, there are across- the-board cuts. mr. van hollen has been a leader, mr. hoyer has, on the impact this has on public employee wheeler -- on public employees. >> they keep. federal employee years -- federal employees as seek no cost-of-living increases, to keep pace with the cost of living, for two years, and that was a corporate and they are willing to do their share creek but they are not willing to do re and, and enti
6:05 pm
that has been the republican strategy. i want to remind people who these employees are. these are the nurses, in hospitals around the country, who are taking care of our would it warriors, the fbi agents who saved a young boy in alabama, these folks are helping track down al qaeda to run the world, the air traffic controllers that help make sure we have air safety, the people who do meat inspections. these are people who teach our kids in terms of the funds that will go to education. these are middle-class families, and they deserve to be treated with dignity. congressman bera to the rules committee last night and asked that an amendment put in that would freeze congressional pay, which i support. they would not allow that as a separate vote on the floor. mr. connolly has also introduced a bill to extend i support that.
6:06 pm
it is one thing to say we are going to freeze congressional pay, but we should not be taking it out on these hard-working federal employees, but again, it is bad enough that that is what they're focusing on. what is just as bad is with less than two weeks to go, and the clock is ticking down to a sequester that will cost the american people 750,000 jobs -- those are not federal employees jobs. federal employees will be furloughed, but the 750,000 jobs lost our throughout the private sector, because you are going to be taking $120 billion out of the economy during that time from march 1 until the end of the year. as a result, you will have 1/3 less economic growth and 750,000 american jobs lost, and that is absolutely unexpected will --
6:07 pm
unacceptable from our turner this. >> and why? because republicans refused to end tax subsidies to big oil, refuse to have millionaires pay their fair share. that is why, and it is just wrong, it is not irresponsible way to proceed to come and you can pick out you can do this, you can do that. overall, we have to do what is responsible, and i hope republicans in the congress would see the light to do that, in that housebreak it cannot do that if we are not here, and that is why are we -- why will they not make millionaires pay their fair share and big oil get their tax aziz? why are we leaving when we should be staying here to work
6:08 pm
this out? march 1 is around the corner. it will be fewer than two weeks, 13 days or something, when we come back after tomorrow's adjournment -- recess. again, it is not worthy of the responsibility that we have here, to come together to resolve our differences, to make the compromises, to do the right thing for the american people. what it will do is deter growth with the jobs, and that is exactly what we need right now, growth and jobs. yes. >> some folks on the republican side say the recent they will not allow the sequester to go through is because then to negotiate the c.r. under the 974 number. what that's strategy means, and how do negotiations look with
6:09 pm
that, and how will that happen with that happening over the last two years? >> the 974 is cut already, but i was missing the point as to whether this was a strategy, that will let the government shut down, lose 750,000 jobs, have uncertainty as economic growth so they can negotiate better on the c.r.? again, the priorities is to set a tale of two priorities. what you have just described is an irresponsible course of action, and it is a path that i would hope people who care about our economy, our growth, national security, would weigh in with the republicans and say what you just described is a luxury. our guest is a luxury our economy cannot afford.
6:10 pm
it is frivolous, irresponsible, immature, and it is not think the interest of growing the economy of our country. ok, i just wanted to make the point though about we said what the job loss will be, and what the number of times that we have brought this bill up. let's talk on the positive side. we could come together and find a way say, how much are we going to have been spending cuts, what will we do on revenue, how will this promote growth, how much better armed off to having a solution in advance and then go discuss the c.r.? this is not hard. it is complicated, it is challenging, but if we cannot do this, it is hard to explain why we could not, and the edges so
6:11 pm
far seems to be because they do not want to touch tax cuts, the income of people making over $2 million a year. do you have any other thing? >> i would remind them, everybody, when it comes to discretionary spending, the ongoing operations of the federal government, which have already cut $1.50 trillion of the next 10 years, through a combination of caps in the budget control agreement as well as our reductions earlier in that year, over the last couple years. that is not include the interest savings on those cuts, the $1.50 trillion, which will take that category of federal spending down to the lowest level as a part of the economy since the eisenhower administration. as leader policy as set, if you keep going, what you are going
6:12 pm
to do is short changed our kids and our future and our economy and our ability to compete in the global economy. you will be slashing science and research, flashing investments in our kids' education, all as the leader said in order protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies and to make sure that folks who earn more than $2 million per year can take advantage of the tax preferences that they disproportionately benefit from. that is the trade-off here, and we just need to make it clear, and then we'd be to make our choice. >> these cuts across the board on the domestic side, and we are concerned about the domestic cuts as well as the events, but on the domestic side, they will have a terrible impact on women and children and care givers and seniors and the rest. it really is so irresponsible,
6:13 pm
especially as mr. van hollen said, those cuts were already made in the budget control act that were significant, $1.60 trillion. these are the 600 brain dollars in revenue, so is more than 2-1 in spending cuts to revenue so far. no, we have demonstrated we're willing to make the cuts. mr. van hollen as suggested others, but you cannot as the president keeps saying that your way to getting rid of the deficit. you have to have revenue coming in. that is why we are proud of him in the other night in his speech when he took on the issue head on saying that we had to have a balanced approach, and let's work together to get that done. yes, sir. >> in terms of tax increases on
6:14 pm
incomes over $2 million? >> for the buffett rule -- >> we propose we continue to take a balanced approach, and we have done $1.50 trillion in spending cuts. we did about $600 billion in revenue by asking a higher- income individuals to pay more, but we have not yet speaker boehner's plan. he said he had a plan to raise $800 billion in revenue by taking away special tax breaks and loopholes. in fact, i recall repeatedly that mitt romney and paul ryan talked about all those tax breaks and loopholes that are in the tax code. they are all still there. we would like to see speaker boehner's plan. we have not come as part of the fiscal cliff agreement, at just any of those tax breaks or loopholes, so let's do it as
6:15 pm
part of the balanced plant on ford, including getting rid of all those special breaks like the oil and gas once. i would say dr. commodores testified the other day and said the tax breaks index tax cut is a spending through the tax code. >> when people talk about a spending problem, they should be including the text as badgers, because they are a cost to the economy, to our federal budget. just to go back to the public role, 30%, at mr. van hollen talked about, under the bill that was passed at the last year, the rate would be 39.6%. this says you could take some deductions, but you cannot have your tax bill go below 30%. they still have about 10 points of deductions that they can take and it is just, as mr. buffett said, you should not be
6:16 pm
paying a lower tax rate and his secretary, and that is what people will do if they take an endless number of loopholes. all those loopholes, but it is big oil subsidies, $38 billion, $37 billion over 10 years, all of those are expenditures. they are what we call tax expenses. put them in the spending column and let's cut those, too. one last question. >> would you address all the tax expenditures and the polls, which that may copperheads of tax reform at temple lead the this year, which that make it more challenging, or does it take away the prospects for republicans to join in that? >> we are not opposed to the idea of raising some of this revenue to tax reform. rethink there is some tax breaks that are so egregious -- we think there is some tax breaks and egregious that we should decide right now in the interest
6:17 pm
of protecting taxpayers, protecting the economy, that big oil companies -- this is something president bush proposed, getting rid of the tax break for the big oil companies. mitt romney conceded this. there are lots of tax breaks that should not stay in the tax code for another second. in terms of the other provisions, we're happy to do this part of tax reform, but as the leader said, we can make the decision today that folks are making $2 million a year should not have a lower effective tax rate than the people who work for that them. we have had hours of meetings to recognize that is the right thing to protect $750,000 bucs 750,000 american jobs. >> will look at mandates, and revenue, we will look at all these things out of the heat of
6:18 pm
battle, but in a time of reflection where we can make the right decisions. you know, the tax code and all of these loopholes, that probably is the biggest cottage industry in washington, d.c.. it probably is the source of more unfairness in our budget process because of who gains from it and who gains from it are usually the very special interests. we really must go to the table and look at the tax code for fairness, simplification, getting rid of obsolete and duplicative provisions in it up but if you want to inject fairness and balance into what we do, then let's just objectively and in an agnostic
6:19 pm
when, just put it on the table. the more people would know about that tax code, the more unfair they will know that the situation is when it comes to them. because we are effectively saying right here we are not going to get rid of the tax subsidy for big oil, but let's get rid of that same amount of money from pell grants or meals on wheels or you name it, education, public safety, you name it. those are not the priorities of the american people, and why should there be a special interest that has all this spending on its behalf, tax expenditures, and when we say we have to cut spending when it comes to the education of our children, the safety of our neighborhoods, the comfort of our seniors. it is a big debate and what we have come here to do, to have that debate, but we should not be doing it in the wake of a sequester. we should be doing it after we have gotten rid of the sequester, which we could do if
6:20 pm
we stayed here the next couple of weeks, but then dispassionately and objectively, and with transparency and in full view of the american people, that every one of those tax breaks be justified or not. but i say over every dollar that expense, it should be subjected to harsh its scrutiny. is it worth it? is it obsolete? is it doing the job it set out today, and we should be subjected as tax expenditures -- that spending, on behalf of the special interests to the same scrutiny. that is what i hope we can do, and it is better served if we did not have a sequester, as well as that the debate on the c.r. and the preparations are better served without a sequester. to be continued. at the valentine's day. >> the last point, even if there is some republicans who want to
6:21 pm
slash the investment in education, which would be shortsighted, the question we're present to them four times now, is if you do not care about that which you should come what do you care more about, protecting special interest tax breaks or investing in national security, defense, and protecting the economy? republicans who choose to do this effort, are saying it is more important for them to protect tax giveaways to the oil companies than it is the best of our national security and protect the economy. it is as simple as that. >> again, to be continued, as you may notice, many of us are wearing red today, and in association with the heart association, which is focusing on women's health and heart disease on women. you will see men in red. it is not about valentine's day, although they may have chosen to stay for that reason. it is about a very important
6:22 pm
issue. all of the biomedical research and all of upper a tense at finding cures -- all of the attempts at finding cures and finding personalize, customized care, whenever their diagnosis, it would be greatly affected by sequester that would slash biomedical research, and that an investment in education, power -- our investments in the future. nothing brings more money to the treasury and educating the american people. early childhood, thank you, mr. president, to a lifetime learning everything in between -- nothing brings more money to the treasury. if we think by cutting investments in education that we are reducing the deficit, we are not, and that is how we have to think about this, about what our goals are as a country, what our
6:23 pm
values are, and how that budget is a statement of values. thank you all, very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> our prime time schedule includes testifying on sequestration. on c-span2, the senate armed services committee considers the nomination of new leaders for the u.s. commands that oversee operations in the the east, africa, and central asia. on c-span3, a hearing on implementing the dodd-frank regulations law. this includes the heads inkatha fdic, -- that heads of the
6:24 pm
fdic, and a securities and exchange commission. during his annual state of the indian nations address today, jefferson keel asks that the government to set the federal tribes and the sequestration budget cuts to the to go into effect next month. a call on the us house to authorize the violence against women act and for congress to cut pass comprehensive immigration reform. this is an hour, 15 minutes. >> good morning. i am the executive director of the national congress of american indians. the oldest and largest native american advocacy organization representing indian country and alaska natives and dentists, tribal governments, and their communities. i am pleased to welcome our
6:25 pm
distinguished guests here in washington, and those listening around the country, because that 2013 state of indian nations. across the country, students, teachers, and travel citizens and leaders, businesses have gathered to watch this event together. among those many events, we're likely to be joined by students from the laguna middle school, the boys and girls clubs of the greater scottsdale, and tribes, muskogee creek nation, confederated tribes, reservation and hosting viewing trouble parties and employees of trouble officers in many areas of the country, and we're pleased to be joined by the college of the menominee nation, the four bands community fund, the american indian college fund. this is a small selection of
6:26 pm
events happening today, and we want to thank them and all of you for joining us. we have an incredible turn out here in washington, and i would like of acknowledged some black guests in the studio this morning. from the administration, we have from the white house. we have someone weihs. we have representatives from key federal agencies, agriculture, commerce, homeland security, interior, justice, and epa. we're delighted to be joined by um.gresswoman betty mccullo we're honored to be joined today by the head councilman joe garcia, is on our board, as well as larry townsend.
6:27 pm
and a vice president from the round valley tribe, byron dorgan from the center for native american youth, clara pratt, kiki carroll, chris mcneil, and chairman party stevens who has never missed a at the indian nations. we are joined today by two indigenous leaders from australia, nigel brown, and we would like to thank them for turning with us. today we have ncii parntners from outside indian country, ralph everett.
6:28 pm
as you can tell, today is valentine's day, and i am sure that after this event today you will love tribal sovereignty more than you'd ever have before, and even when you first met. it has already been a great week in washington for our troubled nations. on tuesday the senate passed violence against women act, approving the bill that included key provision for native women. our victory is not just resonating in the united states. to many around the war, today is that day. will be hosting events as part of the 1 billion rising, and movement to end violence against women and girls. finally, i want to thank native voice 1 and many travel and public radio stations across the country for barron today us address, bringing the state of indian nations to hundreds and
6:29 pm
thousands of people in indian country and beyond. and now it is my pleasure to introduce the president of the national congress of american indians, jefferson keel. is it currently the the talent -- he is currently the lieutenant governor of the chickasaw nation. he has over 20 years of active duty service and has translated that into a sense of duty into serving indian country and protecting our sovereignty. over his terms as terms asncai, has been a true statesman for indian country. he has met with the president, and gauge with key members of the president's cabinet, and travel overseas to hk four leaders about our unique nation to nation of relationships. he has championed travel health care, to heart with the promise of the tribal law and order act, and led the charge for the most
6:30 pm
successful native boat campaign ever. help me welcome the president of the national congress of the american >> thank you. thank you. good morning. members of the national congress of american indians, members of the administration, members of congress, tribal leaders, fellow citizens, my fellow americans. as president of the national congress of american indians, as one of more than five million american indians and alaska natives of the recognized tribal nations and state recognized governments of the indian country, it's an honor to speak to you today. native americans are as diverse as america itself, an array of cultures, each with its rich heritage and proud history. in all of our vibrant threads,
6:31 pm
stories and traditions, triumphs, are woven into the fabric of america. every day we're reminded of how far we've come and the journey we have ahead of us and though we've walked dark roads and overcome challenges and tragedies, our future holds great promise. today, indian country is strong! [applause] i could not always stand here and tell you that. when i was a young boy growing up in southern oklahoma, there weren't many opportunities in my chickasaw community. my family, like many others, were poor, just barely scraping by. as soon as we were old enough, we started working, harvesting cotton, peanut, corn crops, piling hay on to trucks, hauling them to the barnes. i saw neighbors working hard to build better lives for their families, parents and grandparents maintaining our
6:32 pm
culture from traditional food, name giving ceremonies to celebrations of life and death, passing on the timeless values of our tribe. even when the federal government told us we had no right to exist, we stayed true to ourselves. still, times were tough. our people sometimes wondered if our best days were behind us. but through it all we carried it, forging new bonds with each other to strengthen our nations. ncai was critical to this effort. in fact, that's why it was started in 1944, when tribal citizens and tribal leader stood together to speak as one voice for america's tribal nations, to protect our sovereignty, to affirm our rightful, constitutional place in the american family of governments. their work to unify and mobilize tribes rippled through indian country. my own community started to
6:33 pm
organize and advocate for our rights and we committed ourselves to carrying on the vision of our fathers and mothers who signed the original treaties protecting tribal sovereignty. that vision guided us through a new era in tribal governance, self-determination, where tribal governments were able to run their own governments without interference. this new era was transformational. when i came home from vietnam, i witnessed the optimism of leaders shaping their own community. the energy of people making their own decisions, the pride of a tribal nation unleashing its own potential. in many ways, my own experience and my tribe's experience reflect not just indian country's advances but our aspirations, that our communities might thrive in a modern, global economy that, our children might achieve their dreams, and today, more than
6:34 pm
ever, those aspirations are within our reach. thanks to a greater trust between tribal nations and the united states, we're in a moment of real possibility. in president obama and his administration, we have a partner committed to strengthening tribal sovereignty, who believes in our right to determine our own course, who understands what we've always known to be true, that indian nations are best governed by indian people. [applause] this partisanship and partnership extends throughout the federal government, on both sides of the aisle, because indian issues are not partisan issues. the results has had a meaningful, measurable impact on indian people's lives. today, more tribes are managing resources instead of managing poverty programs.
6:35 pm
residents of rural oklahoma drive to our health facilities first because they offer the best services around. other governments seek our traditional knowledge of natural resources. non-native people come to us for and educational opportunities and companies partner with us to set up new businesses on reservations. it's no wonder that more highly skilled and educated native young people are coming back to serve in our communities as doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, entrepreneurs and as we're revitalizing our own economies, tribes are becoming key players in america's economic recovery. my tribe, the chickasaw nation, the chickasaw nation contributes $2.5 billion to our regional economy every year and employs over 12,000 people. at the same time, we're taking a proactive approach to budgeting and stewardship so that we are
6:36 pm
more resilient. the nation-to-nation relationship we enjoy as tribal nations has never been confined to the borders of the united states and thanks more international trade agreements developed by tribal leaders, our businesses and many of those other tribes reach all around the globe. at the same time, our people's dedication to america has never been stronger. last year, i stood that the podium and called for native americans to get out the vote and indian country responded like never before. ncai's civic engagement campaign, native vote, was the biggest, most successful in our 70-year history, a massive grass-roots campaign deployed huge numbers of volunteers, young and old. they knocked on doors, registered voters, drove people to the polls, and helped turn out the highest number of native
6:37 pm
voters ever. [applause] they did this even though our people still had unequal access to the polls too. many native voters traveled long distances to exercise their right only to be turned away. so even as we applaud the efforts of the 2012 native vote movement, we know this is just the beginning and we have much more to do to ensure that every native vote is cast and counted. our commitment to democracy stretches beyond the ballot box to distant shores where every day thousands of native men and women fight proudly under the american flag, to the more than 22,000 active duty native warriors and to my more than 156,000 fellow native veterans, i salute you! america salutes you!
6:38 pm
we're grateful for your service. every day, in ways big and small, we're strengthening the unique nation-to-nation relationship tribes enjoy with the united states, a relationship of mutual respect, mutual obligation, and mutual trust. we've come a long way, but there's much more work to do and i'm convinced now more than ever that we must protect and strengthen tribal sovereignty. that is how we will meet our three shared goals -- to secure our communities, secure our nations, and secure our future. first, securing our communities. there's nothing more important to tribal leader than the safety and wellbeing of tribal citizens, but today, one in three native women will be raped in her lifetime, almost four in 10 will be beaten and abused by a domestic partner. the death rate of native women
6:39 pm
on some reservations is 10 time the national average. the numbers are so high to be almost numbing. but here's the thing. violence against women is not a cultural practice, it's a criminal practice. that's why we don't tolerate it. tribes can and do pursue justice against native men who commit these acts but that's not enough. we know that assaults against native women tend to take place at private residences, that many native women live tribal lands, that almost 60% of native women are married to non-native men. we know all this yet we also know the tragic reality. today, tribes do not have the authority to prosecute non-natives to beat, rape or even kill women on tribal lands. state and federal authorities are often hundreds of miles away without the local resources to
6:40 pm
investigate crimes. and in recent times, u.s. attorneys have declined to prosecute a majority of violent crimes in indian country, most of which are related to sexual abuse. no other government would stand for this violation of sovereignty or continued injustice, no other government should, and no other government has to. the solution is simple, congress must reauthorize the landmark violence against women act and ensure that tribal governments have the authority to prosecute non-native men accused of violence against women on tribal lands. in other words, congress must allow tribes, like all other governments, to protect their own people and surrounding communities from brutality. so if we believe that a native woman's life is worth the same as every other woman's, if we believe that justice should not stop at the border of a reservation, if we believe that
6:41 pm
tribes are truly sovereign, it's time for the house of representatives to step up, put partisan politics aside and reauthorize the violence against women's act with expanded protections for all victims of violence. then we will join the people around the world in dancing in support of this movement. congress has demonstrated that it understands the importance of tribal sovereignty. that's why in the 1970's they passed the indian child welfare act to ensure tribal families have the ability to protect their children. it's why conditioning recently authorized tribal leaders to directly seek a presidential disaster declaration, a critical tool for our governments to secure our communities. it's why the united states has joined more than 140 members of the united nations in acknowledging that indigenous peoples are entitled to free, prior, and informed consent on
6:42 pm
decisions that affect our nations. this respect for our nation-to-nation relationship must extend to other issues that impact indian country, including immigration. what many americans may not realize is that almost 40% or 40 tribal governments are located on or near the borders of mexico and canada, which means tribes have jurisdiction over some of the areas most affected by immigration policy. these issues directly impact the lives of our citizens and tribal nations must be at the table as the federal government considers common-sense immigration reform. tribes have faced new immigration for over 500 years and we know it has its challenges. but to us, this isn't just a policy issue, it's a moral one. we firmly believe that the arc of justice must stretch from the first americans to the newest americans.
6:43 pm
[applause] as we continue to secure our communities, we also secure our nations. our nations range from more than 200 remote alaskan native villages where tribal citizens make up 20% of the population to the navajo nation in the southwest with a land base of 17 million acres, from alaska, california to connecticut, tribal lands cover over 100 million acres which would make indian country america's fourth largest state. this land is held in trust by the federal government. supposed to protect indian land from both infringement and isolation. unfortunately, that trust, our trust, was broken too many times. the funds used to maintain the trust were grossly mismanaged, not just once or twice, but over
6:44 pm
and over for decades and decades. it was a fraud that added up to billions and billions of dollars and opportunity lost for generations of native people. last year, the federal government finally implemented the settlement to resolve the issue. while it doesn't erase the past or repair the damage, it does close a painful chapter in our history and it turns a new page on our trust relationship. that relationship continues to grow. after 200 years of disputes, recent settlements are securing tribal rights to water which are critical to economic development for our communities, our livelihoods and people's health. much more must be done to restore the trust relationship. the supreme court decision overturned a long-standing precedent and threatened economic future by limiting federal authority to the acquire
6:45 pm
land in trust for any tribes. this cannot stand. congress must pass a clean karchari fix right now. our nations have enormous potential. tribal lands boast almost 25% of america's on-shore oil and gas resources and one third of the west's low sulfur coal, yet they represent less than 5% of current national energy production. why? because of leasing restrictions. fortunately, new federal policies are addressing this barrier, enabling tribes to develop their own sources of energy. the goal is to transform tribal lands and boost economic growth while contributing to america's energy independence. for instance, the los angeles city council recently approved a 25-year, $1.5 billion project to
6:46 pm
buy solar power produced at the moapa band indian nation in the southern nevada desert. when it goes on line in 2016, it will be the largest solar power plant on tribal lands, capturing desert rays to power over 118,000 los angeles homes. in addition, to the plant itself, over 900,000 solar panels will be built on the reservation, creating more jobs and industries of tomorrow. one way to ensure we see more projects like this is to promote fair, equitable tax policy. like all governments, tribes must be able to collect and manage their own taxes, but right now, tribal governments don't have the same taxing authority or ability as states. as local governments and the federal government. we will continue working with
6:47 pm
our federal partners to fix these policies so that the economies of indian countries grow and become a south of strength in our family of nations. tribal sovereignty is how we can secure our communities, it's how we can secure our nations and it's how we will secure our future. this is our greatest challenge. a quarter of our people live in poverty, twice the national average, and while the country as a whole struggles with an unemployment rate that hovers around 8%, the unemployment rate in indian country is more than double that. almost one in five native people don't have basic phone service, and thousands more don't have plumbing. for too long, these statistics have been accepted as the ways in the indian country. the goal, it seems, was survival. but we must do better. and when tribes can develop their own priorities and make the right investments, they
6:48 pm
don't just survive, they thrive. throughout indian country from the seminoles in florida to washington, more and more tribes are driving economic growth for their nations and surrounding communities. even in the most remote regions, tribes play a major role in promoting economic development. for example, the clinket and hida tribes generate $38 million annually as one of the top employers in juneau in southeast alaska, a huge boon to a region with limited economic activity and as i've said, many tribes are going global. the saqamas tribe of washington has lived on the central puget sound for thousands of years and nobody knows how to fish those waters better. today, wearing the latest diving gear and armed with g.p.s. devices, native divers explore the icy waters to catch gooey ducks. what's a gooey duck?
6:49 pm
the gooey duck is the world's largest clam. more importantly, it's a delicacy in chinese quazeme. the tribe formed a co-op to export the gooey duck to asian markets for more than $20 a pound. that's just one example. multilie -- multiply that entrepreneurship to hundreds of tribes, growing, developing and providing services or products around the world and it adds up to unprecedented progress for our community. we'll continue doing our part to be proactive stewards of our future. rather than react to the federal government's actions, tribes are thinking, planning ahead, making decisions that allow us to withstand economic uncertainty, and it's paying off.
6:50 pm
now, with the wind at our backs, we need federal leaders to stand with us. with the right investments, tribal communities will continue growing stronger and advancing america's prosperity. we urge congress to honor the trust responsibility by maintaining support for education, housing, roads, law enforcement and energy development. the trust responsibility is not a line item and we're not a special interest group. as budget discussions continue, we urge congress to acknowledge their constitutional responsibility to honor our sacred trust by holding tribal governments harmless in the sequester and beyond. as president obama said in the state of the union address just two days ago, the federal government must keep the promises they've already made.
6:51 pm
because this moment is about creating opportunity for our children and grandchildren. with 42% of natives under the age of 25, we must take steps toward a stronger seventh generation. that's why indian country's investing in education so that more of our young people can receive a higher education and develop skills to access greater opportunities. gaming, just one example of economic development, has generated funds for tribes to invest in schools and provide talented young indians with scholarships. in fact, in the past 30 years, the number of american indian alaska native students enrolled in college has more than doubled, but we still have a long way to go. today, ncai's releasing a report called "securing our futures." it shows areas where tribes are
6:52 pm
exercising their sovereignty right now, diversifying their revenue base and bringing economic success to their nations and surrounding communities. the footing securing our future, from education to food security, climate change to work force development, is illuminated by the proven success of tribal nations and while the circumstances of each tribal nation are unique, the promising practices contained in the report offer a way forward to secure tribal economies and sustain prospert for future generations. in my final year as president of ncai, i share this vision of a strong future for indian nations, knowing it will be carried forward not just in the year ahead but for generations to come. when i look back on our journey as first peoples of north america and where we are today,
6:53 pm
my heart fills with pride. we're on course to fulfill the promise of those who came before us, of our elders who preserved our cultures against all odds. it's because of their sacrifices that we stand strong today and strong forever. our nations have been here a long time. we were a people before we the people. [applause] we engage in commerce, we shaped american democracy. and in some of america's darkest chapters, we stood with our non-native brothers and sisters. in the depth of the depression, tribal nations rebuilt our communities. when our homelands were attacked, tribal warriors stepped forward as they always have to defend our shared sacred ground, the united states of america. for these reasons and so many
6:54 pm
more, tribal nations have been a wellspring of hope and strength our fellow americans. indeed, our unique place in the american family of governments makes us a model for nations around the world and an inspiration to indigenous people across the globe. when i think about our shared future, i'm reminded something the late senator daniel inouye, a great american, once said, to a gathering of tribal leaders, and i quote. "i can't think of anything, not anything that is more critical to your past, to your present, or to your future, than your sovereignty." senator inouye was not a native person. he didn't come from a tribal community, but he took up our cause and he spent our life advocating for our nations because he believed it was a matter of justice. he knew that america was at her strongest when all of her governments worked together to advance our security and prosperity.
6:55 pm
when all her people were thriving, he understood that a sovereign people are a strong people, contributing, in turn, to a strong united states. he knew that native peoples were fighting for the same inalienable rights given to each of us by our creator -- the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. these are the same principles that formed our treaties and why our constitution acknowledges tribes as equal, sovereign governments. today, you can see that sovereignty in action in tribal courts, in the classrooms of tribal colleges and in tribal businesses all over the world. this is the task at hand, to move together toward a more perfect union, to strengthen our trust relationship with the united states. from washington to kennedy, reagan to obama, tribal nations have worked with the united uphold this promise.
6:56 pm
that trust ultimately is a principle that must guide us, all of us, as we go forward and do right by all of our children and grandchildren and when we do, we'll always be able to say that the state of indian nations is strong and the future and prosperity of america is secure. thank you. [applause] now, it is my honor to introduce senator maria cantwell.
6:57 pm
senator cantwell represents the great state of washington, the home of the geoduck. she represents 29 tribes and almost 165,000 native people. senator cantwell is one of the many native vote success stories. she was elected in 2000 with strong tribal support, beating then senator slade gordon by just 2,229 votes. she has served on the indian affairs committee since her first year on the senate. throughthroughout her service, s worked to promote economic growth for indian country and advance tribal sovereignty. just last month, senator cantwell became the first female chair of the committee and we're delighted to have her provide the congressional response to today's state of indian nations. please join me in welcoming chairwoman maria cantwell. [applause]
6:58 pm
>> thank you, president keel, and thank you for that wonderful address, and for your strong leadership at the national congress of american indians. i think you clearly laid out some of the biggest opportunities that we face working together in this new congress. i see my colleague is here, the former chair of the indian affairs committee, senator byron dorgan. thank you for your leadership in the past on the senate indian affairs committee. [applause] i'd like to say a special hello to the thousands of children who are watching throughout the country. you are the future leaders of our country and we certainly need you. i'd also like to recognize two members of the national congress of american indians from my home state, ron allen, chairman of the jamestown sklolum tribe and
6:59 pm
fawn sharp from the qunalt nation, the northwest area vice president. i know both of them are strong members of ncai and i look forward to working with them in this new capacity. in his speech, president keel spoke about indian nations and their need to secure their futures. this reminds me of what chief seattle once said. "the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth. whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons and daughters of the earth, we do not weave the web of life, we are merely strands in it and whatever we do to that web, we do to ourselves." from first treaties with indian nations, the federal government has acknowledged that native people are the stewards of our land. native people have lived off the land and in harmony with the earth and its resources for thousands of years. you have a strong voice that needs to be part of the national
7:00 pm
dialogue, and when it comes to seeking solutions, whether it's on natural resources or subsistence or climate change, we all need to work together. in president obama's state of the union get all need to work together. of theident obama's date union speech this week, he said, when the state of our nation is stronger. in many ways, we are able to say, the state of indian country is stronger. today than it was 50 years ago. managing their resources, preserving their culture is, and utilizing their land base. these accomplishments have come about for many reasons. we honor treaties. we respect the government and to government relationship. we have grown to better -- and
7:01 pm
together. cadet one of my goals is to make sure indian, and -- country grows stronger by working together with other tribal leaders. we will work hand-in-hand to accomplish many things in 2013. i am so proud a few days ago, we were able to pass the violence against women act, with a very strong vote and a new tribal provision to closely root out this issue of domestic violence on tribal resignations. -- reservations. [applause] unfortunately, we were able to
7:02 pm
defeat two very harmful amendments. with a very strong vote, we are now sending that legislation to the house of representatives and i call on them today to take immediate action to pass this important legislation. [applause] passing the violence against women act, passing the sandy police bill, we have started 2013 on a good foot. there is much work to be done in india and country during this congress. the native american housing self-determination act expires this year. we have a farm bill we need to reauthorize. the school act is well pass is today and for reauthorization.
7:03 pm
the issue of tax reform and making sure the irs appeals with tribes on a fair way and we must address and the 2009 supreme court decision which affected the trial is in its ability to take lands into trust. for me, this issue is simple. i look at my home state of washington where a senator and congressman work hard on a land claim senate -- sediment. they gained the land resources needed for active, -- economic opportunity. a payroll of over 3500 people, 74% of them who are not native. in the last year, i passed a land building before a tried so they could move their school and people out of harm's way of a potential tsunami or the
7:04 pm
constant floods dealt with every single year. and i asked them how close they were to the pacific ocean. they said, sometimes, it is right out the back door and sometimes it is right out the window. that showed us we needed to move them to a higher ground so this issue of making sure tribes can take land into a trust, be part of communities for economic resources and their own well- being, is an important, critical issue. obama a thank-yo thank you. [applause] this will be one of the top priorities, and we have already begun work on it.
7:05 pm
when the national conference of america and indians was established, it was to bring a voice and to native people and force -- and force the treaties that were signed. these live on in our relationship, which i say is a very mature relationship built on our constitution and federal law. indiannt keel say country is strongid -- say indian country is stronger -- said indian country is strong. "the 370 treaties which
7:06 pm
were compelled to sign and ratify our tribal and legal imperatives. they represent the blood, tears and lives of many ancestors. they are notes for a great and strong nation. the subsistence of people say those treaties were good for all mankind. as long as the waters flow and the grass grows and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we are promised -- and their trust remains important to us." i am asking us today in 2013 to renew what that great tribal leader said in my state.
7:07 pm
i am doing my part because it just so happens his great granddaughter will be the staff director of the indian affairs committee. [applause] together, we will work to ensure we honor these words of wisdom, and get down to business, and do all we can for the next generation of americans to make sure they have the tools for economic opportunity for the future. in washington state, our state motto is an indian word that means home for the future. let's start up 2013 with much hope for the future. thank you again for inviting me today. [applause]
7:08 pm
>> thank you for listening. do we have any questions? it is an honor to be here. we are going through a series of water rights litigation in mexico right now. the issues have, and the states found a way to get out be do you of negotiating or even mitigating the water rights, that is, with the federal government, the changes in federal law, they tell the state
7:09 pm
they need to come up with 50% of the funding in order to make a settlement on water rights. whatever amount that is. the state is saying, if that is the case, case closed because we money.ot the what do we do in this case? thank you. >> thank you. i am not sure what the answer is other than some type of federal legislation. i can tell you we will work hard with the senate committee on indian affairs and other legislative associates and try to reach a remedy. i am not sure what the status of that would be. that is something we would take up in the coming year. thank you for that question. if you ask me a really hard
7:10 pm
question, something i cannot answer, i will turn to the encyclopedia here. next question. >> i want to be able to add a little bit on water rights. of the 12 regions of indian country, 11 have made water issues one of their top priorities. for indian country, insafe water is a major issue. at the local level, the tribal governments are engaged when they have the discussions about water. they have water commission's and they are looking at allotments around water and agreements around water. are there other questions?
7:11 pm
please announce yourself and who you are with. >> my question regards lack of access to phone service. i want to know how that is addressed currently? >> thank you for that question. we do have a major initiative under way in indian country working with the fcc, looking at other avenues and how we can rectify this. about the great divide in indian country. there are regions that simply do not have access to the grid. we are working to get satellite communications out. i know jeffrey blackwell works over there and he has done a lot of work and research and is trying to get answers for us. we are working and making
7:12 pm
progress with them on that initiative. i am not sure what you can add to that? >> two fronts. telephone penetration as well as access to technology, broadband extensions that are in indian country. both are critical. one for safety and security reasons. we have been working with the various departments having to deal with making sure we have access to 911. it was only a couple years that the former chair tax relief finally got access to 911. this is in california. we know this is a prevalent problem. >> anyone else? >> other questions? there in the back? >> [indiscernible]
7:13 pm
from california. we are not a federally recognized tribes. i am only 25. i did five years in the marine corps. lance corporal. [applause] i would like to know what is the process for federal recognition -- recognize asian and why have we not had help. i would like to see there is leadership from congress. thank you. >> that is a great question. i want to thank you for that. let me state, pa ncai is an
7:14 pm
inclusive organization. there is a federal recognition process tribes go through to become an gain that federal recognition or to be recognized by the federal government. some of these tribes have gone through the process and are recognized by their state governments. it is a very difficult process. it is a tenuous process, but there is a process. we do support that process. we encouraged tribes to apply and go through that process. but it is very tenuous. i can tell you we are working on that. we have a federal recognition task force that works specifically on that issue. there are members in the
7:15 pm
audience i know serve on that task force. they would be glad to meet with you at the conclusion of this to may be author -- offered direction or assistance. we are willing to help. >> i would like to take a question from one of our on-line viewers. he is a well-known journalist for indian country. his question is friends and congress support indian programs, but not medicate. how do we get them to look at the big picture? >> medicaid and medicare is one of those issues that is a very sensitive topic in america, not just in india country. medicaid is a state program that is not a federal program. the medicare program obviously is. i know the secretary has
7:16 pm
encouraged states to get on board and work with tribes to develop a policy. next week, there will be some consultations to talk specifically about medicaid and how it is implemented. with the affordable care act, sometimes those provisions do not necessarily line up. so medicaid is one of those we will continue to work with. the state exchanges and the federal exchanges will work together to eliminate a lot of the barriers that indian people will see and -- in registering and becoming eligible. we are working on that. i know is a difficult process
7:17 pm
right now. i know the secretary has indicated her support for medicaid. she has encouraged the states to get on board and work with the tribes. >> i know we have one question over here. right there, sorry. >> and i am curious about if ncai is working to prepare with -- for sequester. if so, what are you doing? >> if everybody could start by talking about sequester. one of the things originally, we got the facilities that will be exempt from sequester and later on found out that was not interpreted the way we thought it was. so, one of the things in our
7:18 pm
futures, we talk to tribes about things they need to do that give them examples of what other tribes have done to be able to address some of the challenges during economic challenging times. we are also working with congress to be able to address the protections. it is not just ihs facilities, but it is our law enforcement officers, our education systems, that are all dependent on these resources to maintain. we do not want to be closing our schools and not be able to steal our sick and deal with the critical issues if we do not address sequestered. we have a budget books that is part of the press. we have it on line. we have been very aggressive and we hope people help us with doing that. we have been talking with tribes a lot about lean management, how
7:19 pm
to be able to take on some of those principles and scare -- scale back to the ways to be efficient and effective and uses federal funds. >> as tribal leader, the sequester in real terms will affect tribal communities all the way down at the clinical level. it will affect whether or not a young mother may or may not be able to access health care for her unborn child. it will access whether or not elderly people will be able to afford their medications or ford them going to the doctor. not just in a washington d.c., not just in the urban areas, but everywhere across america. the sequester, in my mind, is it
7:20 pm
necessary? tribal leaders across this country, we understand america needs a more efficient government. we do not argue that point. when you look across the board at these cuts, and you take a percentage, regardless of what it is, 10% of the funding, that provides for the health care, education, the very quality of life our people are enjoying today. some people in some places are struggling already. it will be worse than that. in my mind, and i will agree with the tribal leaders who have come forward already, we have asked that the federal government is exempt tribal governments and tribal health care facilities from a
7:21 pm
sequester. we are -- we will work with our congressional leaders and the federal government and federal partners in every way that we can to make sure we are doing things more efficiently and more expeditiously to provide for those services. but we cannot afford those types of services and cuts across the board in indian country. we are talking about the poorest of the poor. we simply cannot afford that. we are asking the federal government to exempt travel nations from the sequestered cut. -- tribal nations from the cuts.tered cut thank you. >> i have another question on the line here. tracy asks the question, what
7:22 pm
role does nation-building play as an exercise of sovereignty? >> nation-building. that is a good term. thank you for that question. we talk about sovereign nations and exercising our sovereign rights. sovereignty is not something -- we need to understand what it is and what it really means. it is not something tribal nations were granted by the federal government of the united states of america. our status was recognized and affirmed in the constitution of the united states. it is a constitutional thing. our rights have -- as sovereign nations allow us to determine our own futures. it allows us not just to build
7:23 pm
our own communities, but manage our own resources, everything from our land, our people, our resources. when we talk about the natural and human resources, and one of the most precious cultural resources is our children, and preparing for our children and'' future. tribal leaders are more than capable of doing that. .hey have been doing that sin we need the federal government to stand with us and support us in that endeavor. we can do that. we talk about nation-building. we simply want to continue to enable our tribal governments and communities to seek an reach that same level of independence,
7:24 pm
not just financial, but we want to live as independent people just like everyone else in america. thank you. >> i have another question through our facebook. we have a lot of people watching in different ways. what incense it -- incentive does bia have four sets to be spent down in the time frame? what incentive it reads -- to ensure funds are spent down within the 10 year time frame. ? with in the settlement, there was a variety of things put in place. one of the most important things to indian country was it allowed for the -- -- repurchase back of lands so we could solidify
7:25 pm
our land base in tribal communities. the department of the interior is ready to move forward to move that initiative toward. we have met with the special master who is helping to organize some of the payment options. i think one of the most important incentives in that is as they put together that land, portions of that money builds a trust fund, a scholarship program and initiatives for future generations. it is important to indian country. it is like a balancing peace. it brings together the tribal community through the land purchases and it also is an incentive to indian companies -- country to allow it -- to allow us to move forward. >> you talk about what the incentive they have.
7:26 pm
i am not sure they need one other than it is contained in the law. that is what the law says they must do. they do not have a choice in this matter. they simply need to do what they are told. this allows tribes to repurchase those lands so they can then take those lands and use those four at their best efforts, whether it be for economic development or for housing, health care facilities, or what ever it is. they can use those lands for their communities. >> i was wondering if you could tell me how many votes you have in the house. how many do you lack? how sure are you of republican votes or democrat votes and can you tell me based on the
7:27 pm
negotiations you had last year, what is the sticking point? i have heard people raise the constitutional issue. i have heard people easily dismiss that, as well. >> they have raised the constitutional issue, but i know the congressman has certainly answered that question of whether or not it is constitutional. he has done a very good job of educating his fellow constituents on the constitutionality of the question. regarding the number of votes, i am not sure where we are. jackie has worked closely with that. >> we are constantly counting votes. i cannot give you my vote count at this moment in time. we know we have the sponsors of the former amendments to that i believe co-sponsors -- we are
7:28 pm
looking for more at the moment. the leadership that sent a letter to their leadership, saying a bill must pass, including the tribal provisions. we believe those are good, strong support for us. we have a number of democratic members of congress and the congressman was here earlier helping to lead the charge to be able to make sure we have democratic support similar to the support we had in the senate. our job as advocates in dc is to be able to make sure we continue to increase those numbers so that the showing we had will prevail in the house. keel said, itnt
7:29 pm
is a challenging question because the tribal courts look just like other people's. in the bill, we put protections in it so that even though we have the indian civil rights act, that there is a jury of their peers. we put in the protections to be able to make sure if a tribe takes on these responsibilities to have a non natives in their court systems, that they would have defense. we made sure there was a task that is not just a nonmember coming into our communities, and having this act taken upon this act of violence, but it is someone who is chosen to live in our communities who is living with a member of our community, who lives and works there on the -- on a regular basis. they have agreed there so there
7:30 pm
is some implied consent. those are things we know are already in the bill and we believe those things addressed any questions they may have. we will continue to work with members of leadership. is really important to us our sovereignty is recognized and that our tribal system is recognized and that we can address perpetrators in our community that violate our women and children. >> characterized the gap? >> there is one. i am very confident our gatt is not -- it is closing. it is not unachievable. i believe the strong leadership
7:31 pm
we have with folks like congressmen don young, and the on, whose support us, their leadership stands firm. if we go to a vote on this issue in the house, we will win. [applause] >> sticking with the role of exercising our sovereign rights, how do you feel the effectiveness of tribal government and health care compares with direct government care? >> let me just state this. it is obvious that self- determination works. we talk about self governance and the ability of tribes to
7:32 pm
contract or operate their own health-care programs. the success cannot be disputed. we have over 332 tribes that are a self-governing that operate their own health care facilities, or at least parts of those facilities. i can give you an example of self governance and how it works. in 1994, and the nation had an indian health care hospital. all of our care was a direct service. it was directly provided by the indian health service. it was unacceptable. it did not mean it was not good care, and quality care, but it simply means it was not being operated the way we felt like it should. my tribe, we contract in that
7:33 pm
facility, the hospital. that grew into operating the entire health care program. we changed the philosophy. we had a medical doctor who establishes a relationship with a patient and their families. they could see the same doctor over and over again, and not take a chance on a contract doctor from somewhere it has changed. it changed the complete look and feel of our health care. the quality of our health-care just rose quickly. now, it is one of the best health care programs across the country anywhere. we compare that with anywhere. particularly, when you talk about the quality of health. it is not just the quantity, but
7:34 pm
the quality. when you look at a tribe being able to operate, with the question we used to ask ourselves, who would you rather have making a decision on your health care priorities, your tribal government, or some bureaucrat in rockville, maryland, no offense. [laughter] if you think about it, we understand how to operate our programs. tribes have proven they can and they do. they have proven for centuries and hundreds of years we can do more with less. quite simply, tribes have proven they can operate their health care facilities, their programs, because they are closer to the people, they understand the needs and they care, personally, about them. they are personally engaged with those patients.
7:35 pm
>> we have time for one more. i will take it from the web. do you have a comment on ncai's position on canada? >> sure. earlier this year, we issued a statement that we stand with the assembly of first nations, our brothers and sisters in canada. we said because there is a border, this invisible line that separates the two nations, we did not create an outline. some of our people live on both sides of that border. we support their right to self governance. we support their right to engage in nation too late -- nation to nation relationships. there is a little bit of difference, although we mirror each other in a number of ways. the assembly of first nations
7:36 pm
have a direct relationship because they receive funding and support from the canadian parliament. the national congress of american indians does not. we are made up voluntarily of tribal governments across this country that come together for a common purpose. we support their issues. we support them in their desire to become more self-sufficient. and to have this nation to nation relationship with their federal government. we are not saying we are different. we simply have different issues. and different directions. we do support the canadians and our brothers and sisters. >> thank you. i would like to thank those who sent their questions on line. we will answer them.
7:37 pm
questions i did not get to. i would like to thank all of you for listening and being part of this annual address. on behalf of the national conference of american indians, i would like to thank the american indians across the country and our on-line viewers for realizing the importance of covering this event today. thank you. [applause] c-span3 -spa-- [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
7:38 pm
>> our prime time schedule includes administration officials testifying about the intending sequestration. the senate appropriations committee hears from the secretary of homeland's security, education, and housing. on c-span2, the service committee considers the nominations for new leaders. on c-span3, hearing on
7:39 pm
implementing the dodd-frank law. >> joining us from capitol hill, why are house republicans eager to pass a bill that would freeze federal employee pay for another year? >> it is another gesture, another way to show that they are our leaders in the campaign to cut spending. they are leading by example. the pay freeze bill not only overturns december 2012 executive order from the white house that would end the current pay freeze and bump these power -- pays up.
7:40 pm
>> how much money do they estimate this bill would save? >> about $11 billion over 10 years. >> you talked about the executive order from the white house in december. tell us more. what did it say and why did the president issue it? >> they have already been under a two-year pay freeze. in 2010, congress passed a bill that would put that moratorium in place. republicans have, since last year, tried to extend that measure. they want to try again, especially in light of the sequester, where they feel we cannot afford to be spending any more money when we are already going to be taking these cuts, assuming that congress cannot find a solution for these
7:41 pm
blooming, automatic spending cuts. >> it seems the white house is trying to be the house republicans to the punch by issuing that order. >> what the white house was trying to do, from their perspective, the federal government has already been punished enough over the past two years, shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. the obama administration deemed it appropriate to give them a small increase in order to make the government more attractive for recruitment, as a thanks for hart, a tireless work. >> in the house, who are the primary opponents and what are their arguments against the bill? >> democrats are mostly united here in saying we should not ask federal workers to shoulder this
7:42 pm
burden. the tough thing about it is it is paired with a moratorium for salary increases for members of congress themselves. democrats are calling this a ploy from republicans to force them to vote for this, lest they be accused back home of voting against giving themselves a raise. >> assuming passage of this week of this federal pay freeze bill in the house, what are the prospects in the senate? >> it is unlikely they would take it up as a stand-alone bill. there are members of the senate on the republican side who would like to pass this bill. they would do this as an amendment. what is more likely to happen is that it would be through the continuing resolution that congress passed to pass when our current bill funding expires.
7:43 pm
the white house does say they oppose this bill but did not offer a veto last night. >> you can follow her reporting at thank you for the update. >> thank you. >> in the house will continue the debate friday through the end of the year. the pay freeze was originally enacted in 2010. members are also expected to finish work in a measure condemning the north korean government for a nuclear test they conducted earlier this week. our prime time schedule includes administration officials testifying about the pending automatic spending cuts and known as sequestration. the senate appropriations committee hears from --
7:44 pm
that is on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. on c-span2 considering the nominations of new leaders in the middle east. on c-span3 a hearing on implementing the dodd-frank law. when this is before the senate banking committee, and the consumer financial protection bureau, the commodity futures trading commission, and the securities exchange commission. >> president obama tuesday proposed working with states to provide for every child. today, he went to georgia to highlight an expansion of early childhood education. this is 15 minutes. ♪
7:45 pm
[applause] >> hello, everybody. it is great to be in georgia. i cannot imagine a more romantic way to spend valentine's day. than with all of you and all the press here. michele says hello. she made me promise to get back in time for our date tonight. that is important. i have already got a gift. i have got the flowers. i was telling folks the flowers are easier because i got this rose garden. [laughter] a lot of people keep flowers around.
7:46 pm
[laughter] i want to acknowledge a few people here. congressman hank johnson is here. [applause] your mayor is here. [applause] another major you may know snuck in here. [applause] i want to acknowledge the school board, who i had a chance to meet and has helped do so much great work. [applause] i want to thank mary for the wonderful introduction and for keep -- teaching me how to count earlier today. [laughter] i have got to tell you, it was wonderful to be there. i want to thank all the teachers and parents and the administrators, because behind
7:47 pm
every child who is doing great, there is a great teacher. i am proud of every single one of you for the work you do here today. [applause] on tuesday, i delivered my state of the union address and i laid out a plan for reigniting what i believe is the true engine of economic growth -- a thriving, growing, rising middle-class. that also means ladders for people to get into the middle class. the point i put solid says we need to make smart choices as a country, both to grow our economy, shrink our deficits in a balanced way, by cutting what we do not need, but then investing in what we do need to make sure everybody has a chance to get ahead in life. what we need is to make america
7:48 pm
a magnet for new jobs by investing in manufacturing, energy, better roads, bridges, and schools. we have to make sure hard work wage you canwith a rag live on. we have a responsibility to give every american the chance to learn the skills and education they need for a really competitive, global job market. as i said tuesday night, that education has to start at the earliest popular -- possible age. that is what you have realized here. [applause] study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. here is the thing.
7:49 pm
we are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance. the kids we saw today, that i had a chance to spend time with in mary's classroom, they are some of the lucky ones. fewer than three in 104-year- old are enrolled in a high- quality preschool program. most middle-class parents cannot afford a few hundred dollars a week for private preschool. for the poor children who need it the most, the lack of access to a great preschool education can have an impact on their entire lives. we all pay a price for that. this is not speculation. study after study shows the achievement gap starts off very young. when kids go into kindergarten, their first day, if they already have a lot of vocabulary words,
7:50 pm
they do not know their numbers and shapes and have the capacity for focus, they are going to behind that first day and it is hard for them to catch up over time. at a certain point, a lot of teachers have seen this, kids are not stupid. they know they are behind at a certain point. then they start pulling back. and they act like they are disinterested in school because they are frustrated they are not doing as well as they should. you may lose them. that is why i propose working with states like georgia to make high-quality preschool available to every child in america. every child. [applause]
7:51 pm
every dollar we invest in high- quality early education can save dollars early on, bursting -- boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime. in states like georgia, who make a priority to educate our young children, states like oklahoma, students do not just show up in kindergarten more prepared to learn, but they are also more likely to grow uppe reading and doing math at a higher level, a graduate in high-school. hope is found in what works. this works. we know it works. you are looking for a good bang for your educational buck. this is it. right here. [applause]
7:52 pm
so, that is why even in times of tight budgets, states like georgia and oklahoma have worked to make a preschool slot available for every parent looking for one for their child. they are being staffed with folks like mary. qualified, highly educated teachers. this is not babysitting. this is teaching. [applause] at the age our children are just sponges s. their minds are growing fast. kids are caught -- taught numbers, states, how to answer questions, discover patterns, play well with others, and the teachers in the classroom, they have got a coach coming in and
7:53 pm
working with them on best practices and paying attention to how they can constantly improve what they are doing. that plane with others is a trait we could use more of in washington. [applause] maybe we need to bring its teachers up. have quiet time every once in a while. time out. [laughter] as the early childhood learning center i visited earlier, nearly 200 kids are spending full days in classrooms with highly qualified teachers. [applause] i was working with them to build towers and replicate soldiers
7:54 pm
-- sculptures and sing songs. i admit, i was not always the fastest guy on some of this stuff. the kids were beating me to the punch. [laughter] through this interactive learning, they are learning math, writing, how to tell stories, and one of the things you have done here, you have combined kids from different income levels, you have got disabled kids all in the same classroom, so we are all learning together. [applause] what that means is all the kids are being leveled up. you are not seeing some of that same stratification you are seeing that eventually leads to these massive achievement gaps. before you know it, these kids will be moving on to bigger and better things in kindergarten. and they will be better prepared
7:55 pm
to succeed. what is more, i do not think you will find a working parent in america who will not appreciate the peace of mind that their child is in a safe, high- quality learning environment every single day. [applause] michele and i remember how tough it can be to find good child care. i remember how expensive it can be, too. the size of your paycheck should not determine your child's future. [applause] sure none of our kids start out already a step behind. let's make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality, early education. let's give our kids that chance.
7:56 pm
i do have to warn the parents here who have young kids, they grow up to be 5 foot 10 inches, and even if they are nice to you, they basically do not have a lot of time for you on the weekends. [laughter] they have sleepovers and dates. [laughter] so, all that early investment just leads them to go away. [laughter] now, what i also said on tuesday night is that our commitment to orchids' education has to continue throughout their academic lives. from the time our kids start grade school, we need to equip them with the skills they need in a high-tech economy. we are working to recruit and train 100,000 new teachers in
7:57 pm
the fields of the future, science, technology, engineering, and math, where we are most likely to fall behind. we have got to redesign our high schools so a diploma puts our kids on the path to a good job. [applause] we want to reward schools to develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on science and technology and engineering and math, all the things that can help our kids fill those jobs that are there right now but also in the future. and, obviously, once our kids graduate from high school, we have got to make sure skyrocketing costs do not price middle-class families out of a higher education. [applause] or saddle them with unsustainable debt. some of the younger teachers who are here, they have chosen a
7:58 pm
career path that is terrific, but you do not go into teaching to get rich. it is very important we make sure they can afford to get a great education. and can choose to be a teacher, can choose to be in a teaching profession. [applause] so, we have worked to make college more affordable for students and families already. tax credits, grants, and loans that go farther than before. but taxpayers cannot keep subsidizing ever escalating price tags for higher education. at some point, you would run out of money. colleges have to do their part. colleges that do not do enough to keep costs in check should get less federal support so we are incentivized 8 -- incentivizing colleges to keep their costs down.
7:59 pm
yesterday, we released a new college scorecard that gives parents and students of the information they need to compare schools by value, and affordability, so they can make the best choice. any interested pat -- parent can check it out at [applause] now, in the end, that is what this is all about. giving our kids the best possible shot at life, equipping them with a skilled, and education that the first -- 21st century economy demands. giving them every chance so they can go as far as their hard work and take them. that will strengthen our economy and our country for all of us. because if there generation prospers, if they have got the skills they need to get a good job, that means
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 2/14/2013